It feels strange to be writing so much about writing. I’m not qualified to offer writing advice. I can echo Brenda Ueland and Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg, trusting they have the necessary amount of wisdom and “authority,” but who am I? What have I done to give my words any weight?
But of course we all have something to say and teach, right? Our struggles are educational, and we can help each other find the way.
An aunt — or a sister? — shared Natalie’s Writing Down the Bones with me. Ms. Lettmann assigned Anne’s Bird by Bird in a college writing class. I thought I saw somewhere where Lamott recommended Brenda’s book, but I couldn’t remember how I came to find her. Then with the recent discovery that Anne is on Twitter, I saw her tweet, “Great old book on writing & creativity is Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit. It changed my life.” (Ah ha! It must have been Anne, somewhere.)
I love that Anne was inspired by Brenda. Their styles are quite different. Brenda is unreservedly exuberant. Anne holds back, offering despair and wicked humor along with hope. Brenda will tell you of her troubles and the quagmires of writing, but then she believes in you so fervently that you feel enveloped by unconditional love and acceptance. Anne is more grim and disturbed, but is so hilariously funny about it that you laugh and feel better.